Can You Really Work Standing Up?

Could the days of office chairs be numbered?
Could the days of office chairs be numbered?

Here’s an interesting one for the office space industry. Rather than providing rows of workstations with desks and chairs for sitting clients, why not provide standing workstations? It could just help office workers lose weight and become a little healthier, claims exercise scientist Dr John Buckley.

Dr Buckley, from the University of Chester, says that office workers should adopt a standing position for several hours during their working day. He says that by standing up for three hours extra a day, workers can burn up to 144 calories which, over time, can amount to a massive 8lb or 3.6kg loss of fat each year.

But in a world that’s addicted to sitting down – whether it’s to drive to work, hold a meeting, relax with friends or watch TV – it can be a difficult culture to break out of.

“It isn’t natural” says Dr Buckley, according to a BBC interview. “Humans are designed to stand up and keep moving. There is no need to sit down so much.”

But can you really work standing up? If you’ve ever tried hovering over your desk and bashing out an email, you’ll know that it’s not the easiest thing to do. For starters your PC or laptop is at the wrong angle, making typing a challenge. And as for bending over to type on your keyboard, forget it – unless you want the health and safety official on your back.

But thanks to not-so-modern workspace furniture design, it’s actually possible – and it’s much easier than you think.

Dr Buckley leads by example by working from a 1940s standing workstation, and there are plenty more where they came from – thanks to custom furniture suppliers. Or for a more budget-minded approach, set your old desk to a height for standing and make use of a laptop or keyboard stand to help acquire the right angle for working.

Dr Buckley says that there are numerous health benefits, as not only can the standing posture help workers to lose weight, it can also help improve circulation too. On top of that, standing workstations require much less space than a standard sitting workstation – which would be ideal for drop-in hotdeskers or mobile workers looking for a place to land.

What do you think – could standing workstations ever become part of the workspace industry? Or is it all just a standing joke?

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